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Home » Cambridge & Harvard » Centennial: The Harvard Classics 1910-2010

Centennial: The Harvard Classics 1910-2010

Charles W. Eliot

Charles W. Eliot

Sales have not ceased after a century for the Harvard Classics. Here are found works on the history of civilization, religion, philosophy, education, science, politics, literature, and the arts. The publisher not only proposed the project to Charles W. Eliot, retiring president of Harvard University, but also sold some 350,000 sets in twenty years.

Here is a list of the classics, selected with advice from the faculty, by the distinguished Unitarian educator who developed Harvard from a New England college to a nationally renowned university.


The Harvard Classics

The Harvard Classics

The Harvard Classics

New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909-1917

Vol. 1. FRANKLIN, WOLLMAN, PENN

  • His Autobiography, by Benjamin Franklin
  • Journal, by John Woolman
  • Fruits of Solitude, by William Penn

Vol. 2. PLATO, EPICTETUS, MARCUS AURELIUS

  • The Apology, Phaedo and Crito, by Plato
  • The Golden Sayings, by Epictetus
  • The Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius

Vol. 3. BACON, MILTON’S PROSE, THOS. BROWNE

  • Essays, Civil and Moral & The New Atlantis, by Francis Bacon
  • Areopagitica & Tractate of Education, by John Milton
  • Religio Medici, by Sir Thomas Browne

Vol. 4. COMPLETE POEMS IN ENGLISH, MILTON

  • Complete Poems Written in English, by John Milton

Vol. 5. ESSAYS AND ENGLISH TRAITS, EMERSON

  • Essays and English Traits, by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Vol. 6. POEMS AND SONGS, BURNS

  • Poems and Songs, by Robert Burns

Vol. 7. CONFESSIONS OF ST. AUGUSTINE, IMITATIONS OF CHRIST

  • The Confessions of St. Augustine
  • The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis

Vol. 8. NINE GREEK DRAMAS

  • Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Furies & Prometheus Bound, by Aeschylus
  • Oedipus the King & Antigone, by Sophocles
  • Hippolytus, The Bacchae, by Euripides
  • The Frogs, by Aristophanes

Vol. 9. LETTERS AND TREATISES OF CICERO AND PLINY

  • On Friendship, On Old Age & Letters, by Cicero
  • Letters, by Pliny the Younger

Vol. 10. WEALTH OF NATIONS, ADAM SMITH

  • Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith

Vol. 11. ORIGIN OF SPECIES, DARWIN

  • The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin

Vol. 12. PLUTARCH’S LIVES

  • Lives, by Plutarch

Vol. 13. AENEID, VIRGIL

  • Aeneid, by Virgil

Vol. 14. DON QUIXOTE, Part 1, CERVANTES

  • Don Quixote, Part 1, by Cervantes

Vol. 15. PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, DONNE & HERBERT, BUNYAN, WALTON

  • The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan
  • The Lives of Donne and Herbert, by Izaak Walton

Vol. 16. THE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS

  • Stories from the Thousand and One Nights

Vol. 17. FOLKLORE AND FABLE, AESOP, GRIMM, ANDERSON

  • Fables, by Aesop
  • Household Tales, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
  • Tales, by Hans Christian Anderson

Vol. 18. MODERN ENGLISH DRAMA

  • All for Love, by John Dryden
  • The School for Scandal, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan
  • She Stoops to Conquer, by Oliver Goldsmith
  • The Cenci, by Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • A Blot in the ‘Scutcheon, by Robert Browning
  • Manfred, by Lord Byron

Vol. 19. FAUST, EGMONT, ETC. DOCTOR FAUSTUS, GOETHE, MARLOWE

  • Faust, Part I, Egmont & Hermann and Dorothea, by J.W. von Goethe
  • Dr. Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe

Vol. 20. THE DIVINE COMEDY, DANTE

  • The Divine Comedy, By Dante Alighieri

Vol. 21. I PROMESSI SPOSI

  • I Promessi Sposi, by Alessandro Manzoni

Vol. 22. THE ODYSSEY, HOMER

  • The Odyssey of Homer

Vol. 23. TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST, DANA

  • Two Years Before the Mast, By Richard Henry Dana, Jr.

Vol. 24. ON THE SUBLIME, FRENCH REVOLUTION, ETC., BURKE

  • On Taste, On the Sublime and Beautiful, Reflections on the French Revolution & A Letter to a Noble Lord, by Edmund Burke

Vol. 25. AUTOBIOGRAPHY, ETC., ESSAYS AND ADDRESSES, J.S. MILL, T. CARLYLE

  • Autobiography & On Liberty, by John Stuart Mill
  • Characteristics, Inaugural Address at Edinburgh & Sir Walter Scott, by Thomas Carlyle

Vol. 26. CONTINENTAL DRAMA

  • Life Is a Dream, by Pedro Calderon de la Barca
  • Polyeucte, by Pierre Corneille
  • Phedre, by Jean Racine
  • Tartuffe, by Moliere
  • Minna von Barnhelm, by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
  • Wilhelm Tell, By Friedrich von Schiller

Vol. 27. ENGLISH ESSAYS: SIDNEY TO MACAULAY

Vol. 28. ESSAYS: ENGLISH AND AMERICAN

Vol. 29. VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE, DARWIN

  • The Voyage of the Beagle, by Charles Darwin

Vol. 30. FARADAY, HELMHOLTZ, KELVIN, NEWCOMB, ETC

  • Scientific Papers: Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Geology

Vol. 31. AUTOBIOGRAPHY, BENVENUTO CELLINI

  • The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini

Vol. 32. LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL ESSAYS

  • Montaigne, Sainte-beuve, Renan, etc.

Vol. 33. VOYAGES AND TRAVELS

  • Voyages and Travels: Ancient and Modern

Vol. 34. FRENCH AND ENGLISH PHILOSOPHERS, DESCARTES, VOLTAIRE, ROUSSEAU, HOBBES

  • Discourse on Method, by Rene Descartes
  • Letters on the English, by Voltaire
  • On the Inequality among Mankind & Profession of Faith of a Savoyard Vicar, by Jean Jacques Rousseau
  • Of Man, Being the First Part of Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes

Vol. 35. CHRONICLE AND ROMANCE, FROISSART, MALORY, HOLINSHEAD

  • Chronicles, by Jean Froissart
  • The Holy Grail, by Sir Thomas Malory
  • A Description of Elizabethan England, by William Harrison

Vol. 36. MACHIAVELLI, MORE, LUTHER

  • The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli
  • The Life of Sir Thomas More, by William Roper
  • Utopia, by Sir Thomas More
  • The Ninety-Five Theses, Address to the Christian Nobility & Concerning Christian Liberty, by Martin Luther

Vol. 37. LOCKE, BERKELEY, HUME

  • Some thoughts Concerning Education, by John Locke
  • Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous in Opposition to Sceptics and Atheists, by George Berkley
  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, by David Hume

Vol. 38. HARVEY, JENNER, LISTER, PASTEUR

  • The Oath of Hippocrates
  • Journeys in Diverse Places, by Ambroise Pare
  • On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals, by William Harvey
  • The Three Original Publications on Vaccination Against Smallpox, by Edward Jenner
  • The Contagiousness of Puerperal Fever, by Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • On the Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery, by Joseph Lister
  • Scientific Papers, by Louis Pasteur
  • Scientific Papers, by Charles Lyell

Vol. 39. FAMOUS PREFACES

  • Prefaces and Prologues

Vol. 40. ENGLISH POETRY 1: CHAUCER TO GRAY

Vol. 41. ENGLISH POETRY 2: COLLINS TO FITZGERALD

Vol. 42. ENGLISH POETRY 3: TENNYSON TO WHITMAN

Vol. 43. AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS

  • American Historical Documents: 1000-1904

Vol. 44. SACRED WRITINGS 1

  • Confucian: The Sayings of Confucius
  • Hebrew: Job, Psalms & Ecclesiastes
  • Christian I: Luke & Acts

Vol. 45. SACRED WRITINGS 2

  • Christian II: Corinthians I & II & Hymns
  • Buddhist: Writings
  • Hindu: The Bhagavad-Gita
  • Mohammedan: Chapters from the Koran

Vol. 46. ELIZABETHAN DRAMA 1

  • Edward the Second, by Christopher Marlowe
  • Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth & The Tempest, by William Shakespeare

Vol. 47. ELIZABETHAN DRAMA 2

  • The Shoemaker’s Holiday, by Thomas Dekker
  • The Alchemist, by Ben Jonson
  • Philaster, by Beaumont and Fletcher
  • The Duchess of Malfi, by John Webster
  • A New Way to Pay Old Debts, by Philip Massinger

Vol. 48. THOUGHTS AND MINOR WORKS, PASCAL

  • Thoughts, Letters & Minor Works, by Blaise Pascal

Vol. 49. EPIC AND SAGA

  • Beowulf
  • The Song of Roland
  • The Destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel
  • The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs

Vol. 50. INTRODUCTION, READER’S GUIDE, INDEXES LECTURES

  • The last volume contains 60 lectures introducing and summarizing the covered fields: history, poetry, natural science, philosophy, biography, prose fiction, criticism and the essay, education, political science, drama, voyages and travel, and religion.

Readers today may not many limitations of the list. Where are Marx and Nietzsche? Why the utter absence of women writers? Why in the world omit Aristotle? Where are great novelists such as Melville and Tolstoy?

When you develop your own collection of the world’s great books to read this year don’t forget to celebrate the pioneering five foot shelf of books fashioned a century ago: The Harvard Classics.

I recommend “The ‘Five-foot Shelf’ Reconsidered,” an article by Adam Kirsch published in Harvard Magazine and now available online at: harvardmagazine.com/2001/11/the-five-foot-shelf-reco.htm

-Herb Vetter, Harvard Square Library, 2009

Categories: Cambridge & Harvard

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